Lanier High School senior Elisabeth Gutierrez is among a distinguished group of graduates from across the country to be selected for a new scholarship by architecture firm LPA. The LPA Interdisciplinary Diversity Scholarship Program awarded $5,000 to five students in California and Texas.
“We’re highlighting students who come from underrepresented groups,” said Jesus Guerrero, designer for the interiors division at LPA. “Initially, we talked about how we can give back to the community. This is one of those efforts.”
Guerrero and project architect Federico Cavazos, who are based out of LPA’s San Antonio office, were on hand to present Gutierrez with her prize on the Lanier campus.
The scholarship is renewable for 4 to 5 years, based on the student’s career choice and education needs.
Gutierrez will be attending the University of North Texas in the fall. She plans to study interior design.
“I’m going to be able to further my education,” she said. “I’m thankful I’m getting this scholarship and with it, I can get my career off to a great start."
Coincidentally, LPA is the architecture firm wrapping up on the San Antonio ISD Bond 2016 project at Lanier and will again be back for Bond 2020 to finish out the work at the campus.
Cavazos believes the award speaks to the progress being made at SAISD.
“Elisabeth was competing against students across the entire nation,” he said. “The fact that she was selected is a testament to all of the educational gains that San Antonio ISD has had over the past years. It proves the District is producing top-notch students who are deserving of this kind of support.”
The scholarship comes with a mentorship component and will pair students with professionals working within the students’ educational interests. To maintain the scholarship, recipients need to keep a 3.0 GPA.
Leaders at LPA say the scholarship was developed through the LPA Foundation, in partnership with Scholarship America, to target the industry’s well-documented lack of diversity.
"This scholarship program reflects our larger efforts to support a more diverse generation of professionals who will help foster a greater design perspective,” said Wendy Rogers, CEO and chief talent officer at LPA Design Studios. “We are committed to advancing the diversity, equity and inclusion of the architecture, design and engineering disciplines.”
Gutierrez is excited to start college. Eventually, she hopes to open her own business in San Antonio. Ultimately, she hopes she will be able to give back to her community.
“Being able to give back to my community and other communities around me is one of the many things I will accomplish as I continue to grow throughout my career,” she said.